So there seems to be a curse surrounding 128-bit WEP encryption and automatically obtaining an IP from a wireless router. I have read or skimmed through a whole bunch of web posts, many of them here, where people can only seem to get an IP address when WEP is off. As soon as WEP is on, things start failing right and left. I had this problem on my laptop until I figured out that I had to enter the hex key manually, the ASCII wasn't going to work.
This takes the cake though: On another laptop I am able to boot from the Knoppix 3.7 live CD, configure WEP per the router, run pump and get an IP address. When I did a hard drive install of Knoppix with knx2hd, the network worked for exactly two days. It then ceased to function. The issue: pump was failing to get an IP address with WEP enabled. Big f'ing surprise. So I formatted the hard drive, tried the LiveCD again, everything worked fine. Redid the hard drive install: nothing, same problem. I've been using Linux (various distros) for over two years now. I could probably compile my kernel in my sleep. Yet it's this kind of goofy, illogical situation that makes me wonder why I bother.
The various posts I've read have had lots of good suggestions, such as changing to a 64-bit key, making sure the wifi card loads first, making sure the essid is set to the router after setting the key, trying open vs restricted keys... the thing is, since the same configuration is being used in exactly the same way with the Live CD, none of these things should make a difference. The suggestions I have tried have indeed not worked.
I should mention that the same laptop running WindowsXP connects fine. Another laptop running Gentoo (mine) and using the exact same wifi card connects fine with WEP and everything. Drivers are different though, I'm using hostap, and the other one is using orinoco. I tried using hostap on the knoppix laptop though, and it didn't work either.
So it's a big mystery. I'd love an answer from anyone who has seen this, and fixed it. Or perhaps a link to a WPA HOWTO so I don't have to deal with stupid WEP? The ultimate goal is to set up a laptop running Linux so someone who is learning the thing and seeking to replace Windows with it can use it relatively easily, i.e. so they can connect to the internet wirelessly. It's tough being a Linux evangelist when this sort of thing refuses to work! I'm aware that WEP is crap, but it's also one of those things where I stubbornly want to be able to fix the problem. I'm sure some of you out there can relate!
Add'l info: kernel 2.6.9 on the Knoppix, 2.6.12-gentoo-r8 on mine